Thursday, October 3, 2019

Book Review: I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming

I Shall Not Want
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 6)
Publication: Minotaur Books; First edition (April 28, 2009)

Description: In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, life doesn't stop for heartbreak. A brand-new officer in the police department, a breaking-and-entering, and trouble within his own family keep Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne busy enough to ignore the pain of losing his wife―and the woman he loves.

At St. Alban's Episcopal Church, the Reverend Clare Fergusson is trying to keep everyone happy while denying her own wounded soul. When a Mexican farmhand stumbles over a Latino man killed with a single shot to the back of his head, Clare is sucked into the investigation. The discovery of two more bodies executed in the same way ignites fears that a serial killer is loose. Now two would-be lovers, who thought they had lost everything, must find a way to trust each other again―as the violence strikes ever closer to home...

My Thoughts: This is the sixth book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series of mysteries. I have been reading them back-to-back and can't imagine how it would be to have to wait a year or five or eight for the next book to come out. They are extremely compelling stories both as mysteries and as an exploration of mature love.

Russ and Clare haven't spoken for a while. After his wife's death in a car accident, Russ is feeling too guilty that he chose to help Clare rather than go with his wife during the snowstorm. Clare is feeling both hurt and abandoned and is throwing herself into her church work. She has also, with the advice of her bishop, reupped in the military by joining the National Guard as a helicopter pilot.

When Clare attends an ecumenical gathering, she meets Sister Lucia who is very involved with the Hispanic workers who are filling jobs on many of the farms in the area. Clare didn't even know there were Hispanic workers around. She offers to help. Then she gets a phone call from Sister Lucia telling her she was in a car accident while transporting workers and goes to see how she can help. The accident also brings Russ to the scene. The workers have scattered leading him to believe that they were undocumented. He also learns that his sister and brother-in-law have hired the workers to help with their newly expanded dairy operation.

Then a body is found near the farm and it looks like he was killed execution-style. Two more bodies are found at the scene of a big church picnic and they were also murdered. A murder investigation isn't what new officer Hadley Knox was expecting. She came home with her kids to stay with her grandfather who is the sexton of Clare's church. She came home broke and needs the job but she isn't sure police work is really her calling.

This story includes undocumented workers and drug running from the nearby larger cities. It is a fast-paced, tension filled story. The tension between Russ and Clare is nonstop as they are both dealing with grief and guilt but also with love for each other. I couldn't put it down.

Favorite Quote:
He hung up before she had a chance to say anything else. Maybe he was in a tearing hurry. Maybe they were back to not talking. That's what she missed the most: talking. Serious, silly, bone-deep, flippant, all their words and thoughts like gifts to each other, the only gifts they, with their hobbled hearts, could give. She turned the CD player back up. Another day to sing about the magic that was you and me. Oh, yeah. Always time for that.
I bought this one April 29. 2009. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This series sounds good, with a female priest who is also a helicopter pilot, as a lead character.

  2. Gosh the lead character sounds dynamic! thanks for the review.


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